Whalen Furniture to Pay $725,000 Penalty in Defect Reporting Case

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSA) announced that Whalen Furniture Manufacturing Inc., d/b/a Bayside Furnishings of San Diego, California, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $725,000.

The fine resolves CPSC staff allegations that the company knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by law, a defect involving two models of its boat style children’s beds with toy chests. The two models included LaJolla boat beds and Pirates of the Caribbean twin trundle beds. The beds include a toy chest with a 20-pound lid. The lid supports on the toy chests fail to prevent the lid from closing too quickly, posing an entrapment and strangulation hazard to young children. The beds were recalled after a 22-month-old toddler’s death in 2007.

A Whalen Furniture official contacted by Furniture/Today was not immediately available for comment.

CPSC said that as part of the settlement, Whalen denies staff allegations that the recalled beds had a defect that represented a hazard that could result in serious injury or death. It also denied allegations that it failed to notify the CPSC in a timely manner.

Federal law requires that manufacturers, retailers and distributors report within 24 hours information they receive regarding a product’s safety hazard for consumers.

The 22-month-old child from Roseville, California died after the lid of a LaJolla bed’s toy chest fell on the back of his head, entrapping his neck on the edge of the toy chest.

The CPSC said the company learned of the child’s death in November 2007 but did not report it to the CPSC until March 2008, after being contacted by agency staff and directed to do so.

The CPSC and the company announced a recall of 7,700 of the units in July 2008. The beds were sold as part of its Bayside Furnishings division at Costco, furniture stores and online from January 2006 and May 2008 for between $700 and $1,000.

It is bad enough that this company put out an unsafe product, causing the death of a toddler. Why would they wait four months to recall this dangerous product, especially when federal law requires reporting of this information within 24 hours?

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